Ready Stack -- How Come?
Tue, 30 Jun 2020 20:42:33 -0000|
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Ready Stack -- How Come?
For new people who come on board here at Dell Technologies, the learning curve can be steep. We provide hardware and software infrastructure solutions of all shapes and sizes to meet customer demands. The product portfolio is deep and wide.
As technologically minded consumers in this era, when confronted by a seemingly overwhelming number of choices, we often rightfully ask the subject matter expert: "What would you recommend?"
This is exactly the question that the Ready Stack program seeks to answer for our customers who are looking for powerful and reliable converged infrastructure solutions. Not a "product" as such, Ready Stack provides documents that describe reference architectures that we feel work well together. We write and post these documents on the Dell Technologies Info Hub on a regular basis. Many of these reference architectures provide detailed deployment instructions, in the form of a deployment guide; all reference architectures include a detailed design guide.
The entire collection is complemented by a Reference Architecture Guide that lists the Dell EMC compute, storage, and network portfolios that we draw upon when we put together a design. The entire portfolio is composed of Dell Technologies products, backed by single call support.
Simply put, Ready Stack enables you to build your own converged infrastructure solution using your choice of Dell EMC best-in-class technology components. Each reference architecture provides a flexible combination of compute (such as MX7000 blade servers or rack servers), storage (such as PowerStore, PowerMax, or Unity XT), and networking (including S Series ToR switches and Z Series core switches). In the end, it is the customer who decides which combinations of these assets best meet their requirements.
Our Ready Stack docs sometimes offer early glimpses into the latest products that are available from Dell Technologies. So we encourage you to check back on the Ready Stack library from time to time to take advantage of an ever widening selection of compute, network, storage, and data protection options!
For more information about Ready Stack and the options it provides, check out these resources:
Principal Engineer, Technical Marketing
Related Blog Posts
Automate and standardize SAP operations using Dell EMC ESI for storage integration
Thu, 17 Sep 2020 15:24:50 -0000|
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Enterprise SAP landscapes can have dozens of interrelated instances when you include all the nonproduction systems that are used for development, testing, training, and sandbox experimentation. SAP Landscape Management (LaMa) software combined with the Dell EMC Enterprise Storage Integrator (ESI) for SAP LaMa simplifies management of these complex SAP environments by using advanced storage-based local and remote replication services that are integrated into Dell EMC storage systems.
Dell Technologies offers the SAP enabled enterprise one of the industry’s broadest portfolios of storage array options. All the storage systems that are listed in this blog post are supported by Dell EMC ESI for SAP LaMa software for simplifying landscape management. Customers can choose a solution from any of the Unity, Unity XT, VMAX3, and PowerMax storage array models and get integration with SAP LaMa to improve management of their SAP systems. Unity XT arrays are midrange storage platforms that are designed for performance, efficiency, and data protection. PowerMax arrays are larger storage platforms that accelerate applications with end-to-end NVMe flash storage, global deduplication and compression, and data protection. The following table shows the storage arrays that ESI supports:
Table 1: ESI supported storage systems
Unified SAN and NAS
SAP LaMa is an automation and orchestration solution that replaces manual or scripted processes for creating clones, copies, and related refresh activities. Simplified landscape management provides key business benefits, including improved service quality and the capability to new drive business innovation. SAP LaMa combined with Dell EMC ESI provides a single pane of glass for operations such as SAP system relocation, snapshots, provisioning processes, and more. These capabilities increase manageability and promote business agility by enabling administration teams to address rapidly changing organizational demands. Dell EMC supports SAP LaMa in physical, virtual, and cloud technologies, providing a single pathway to manage most landscape configurations.
Examples of improved operational capabilities include:
- SAP LaMa System Relocation—This operation enables relocation of an SAP system from the original location to another host that is recognized by SAP LaMa. System relocation operations are useful when the primary SAP server system requires scheduled maintenance or an upgrade. The entire relocation operation is automated, with ESI enabling administrators to be quickly up and running on another server. The following configurations are supported:
- Physical-to-physical (P2P) bare-metal to bare-metal
- Physical-to-virtual (P2V) bare-metal to VMware virtual using Raw Device Mapping (pRDMs)
- Virtual-to-virtual (V2V) VMware VMDK disks from one VM to another
- Managed SAP LaMa Managed snapshots—This operation enables “snap copying” of all source volumes from an SAP system by using a single API call to maintain storage consistency. Storage snapshots are a low-overhead point-in-time image of source volumes on a storage array. Customers can use these snapshots in place of full copies for many management tasks. For example, PowerMax and VMAX arrays use SnapVX to create a consistent image of SAP system volumes. Snapshots are more efficient than full copies because only the data changes between the source volumes and the images are copied to the “snap copy” volumes. For many SAP landscape management operations, PowerMax and VMAX snapshots consume only a small fraction of the space that is used on the primary SAP system storage array.
- SAP LaMa system provisioning
- System Clone—This operation duplicates a system that is currently running or a previously created managed snapshot. The duplicated clone and source systems have identical system IDs. The clone is isolated on a dedicated network to prevent application users from connecting to the wrong system by mistake. The default configuration for system clones that are created on Dell EMC storage arrays is to use space-efficient snapshots of the source volumes (space savings). By selecting the ‘Full Copy’ option, customers can also create a full clone that doubles the storage space that is consumed.
- System Copy—This operation creates a copy of an existing SAP system with a new unique SAP system ID, host name, and IP address. A system copy is useful when the business needs a copy of either a production or nonproduction system for quality assurance, development, or testing. The two key differences with a system clone are the creation of a new identity (ID, hostname, IP) when using a copy operation and the use of new storage volumes and full space allocations by the copy.
- System Refresh—This operation refreshes either a complete or used part of an existing system, as specified by the user. System refresh procedures enable three options: Refresh system, Refresh database (database only), and Restore-based refresh. Refreshing an existing system is frequently faster than creating a copy. Also, the system refresh procedure enables application teams to continue using the SAP system that they are familiar with, reducing complexity. The restore-based refresh procedure integrates with the leading Dell EMC Data Protection solutions such as PowerProtect Application Direct database agents and Data Domain with DDBoost.
Figure 1: Dell EMC ESI integration with SAP Landscape Management
In addition to the preceding scenarios, customers can streamline operations such as monitoring and data protection by enabling Dell EMC integration with SAP LaMa. For example, with data protection integration, you can perform on-demand and scheduled backups of the SAP system. By using Unity, Unity XT, VMAX3, and PowerMax ESI integration, customers can automate most system operations for SAP. Further, the opportunity for increased storage savings through efficient storage snapshots means that SAP customers can have a greater number of SAP systems consuming less overall space on their Dell EMC storage systems.
The Dell Technologies SAP site is the place to start learning about the features and capabilities that both Dell EMC storage and PowerEdge servers offer. If you are interested in more technical material, see the Enterprise Storage Integrator for SAP Landscape Management End-user Guide 8.0 on the Dell Technologies support site.
Dell EMC SmartFabric Services with Dell EMC PowerStore
Fri, 17 Jul 2020 18:41:12 -0000|
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Why SmartFabric Services with PowerStore?
With Dell Technologies’ integrated PowerSwitch portfolio and SmartFabric Services (SFS), we offer a holistic Dell on Dell solution, that is easier than ever to automate networking as an extension of the modern infrastructure solutions offered by Dell Technologies, making difficult networking a thing of the past.
Dell EMC SmartFabric Services enables an end to end automated fabric with up to 98% of the tasks automated offering simplicity and agility towards day 2 network operations for cluster and network expansion. The single pane of management with VMware vCenter allows users to operate and perform life cycle management of one or more fabrics from within VMware vCenter.
In this example, I will demonstrate how to enable SFS and use the Open Manage Network Integration (OMNI) ova tool to onboard a PowerStore X appliance onto the SmartFabric.
The first step in the process is to make the necessary connections. In the following example, a single PowerStore X appliance connected to a pair of Dell EMC PowerSwitch S5248F-ON switches. There is a connection from each PowerStore node in the appliance to the OOB Management network which allows us to manage the Fabric and use the PowerStore Remote Discovery Tool for initial deployment.
Once everything is connected appropriately, configure the SmartFabric. You can configure the SmartFabric with a single command at the CLI of the S5248F-ON switch. It is considered a best practice to also configure the OOB Mgmt interface on the switch. This allows the OMNI tool to manage the Fabric after the initial configuration.
Use the following sequence to configure the management interface and enable SmartFabric mode.
S5248F-Leaf1A# S5248F-Leaf1A# configure terminal S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# interface mgmt 1/1/1 S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# no ip address dhcp S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# ip address 100.67.128.31/24 S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# no shutdown S5248F-Leaf1A(conf-if-ma-1/1/1)# exit S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# S5248F-Leaf1A(config)# smartfabric l3fabric enable role LEAF vlti ethernet 1/1/49-1/1/52 Reboot to change the personality? [yes/no]:yes
Once SFS is enabled, the switch will reboot and come back up in SmartFabric mode. Next, the OMNI ova is installed onto an existing vCenter. This allows us to create the necessary uplink, networks, and onboard the PowerStore X onto our SmartFabric.
SmartFabric services has several configuration options including L2 or L3 uplinks. The various configuration options for SFS can be found in the Dell EMC SmartFabric Services for PowerEdge ESXi Servers and Isilon Storage Deployment Guide.
Also, OMNI provides us with an additional benefit in that it will orchestrate day 2 automation. OMNI will be registered with both the SmartFabric and the vCenter. When a change is made to the VDS, such as a port group creation or modification, the corresponding network is created/modified on the Fabric and the associated interfaces configured for those networks. OMNI orchestrates this by monitoring vCenter tasks and then uses REST API calls to make the associated changes on the SmartFabric.
The next step is to go to OMNI and select the Server Interface tab.
SFS automatically discovers the PowerStore interfaces, which allows for a bulk configuration of all the PowerStore interfaces. This process applies to both the PowerStore X and the PowerStore T models.
Once the +Import From Fabric option is chosen the PowerStore interfaces are dynamically discovered and presented to the user.
Select the specific PowerStore interfaces and first add a server profile with the +Add to Server Profile option. Once this is complete, choose the +Add Networks option to apply the required networks (Mgmt, vMotion, Storage, and if necessary Remote-Discovery).
The final step is to select all interfaces and click the Create button. Now the Fabric is configured for a successful PowerStore deployment. The final step is to discover the PowerStore appliance and complete the Initial Configuration Wizard. Reference the Dell EMC PowerStore Network Planning Guide and other PowerStore documentation on the Dell Support site for more details on the procedure for deploying a PowerStore Appliance.
More information about SFS and PowerStore, see the Dell EMC SmartFabric Services with Dell EMC PowerStore Reference Architecture Guide.
For additional Dell Networking Solutions information, visit infohub.delltechnologies.com.